Threads of the Pattern

Posts Tagged ‘SCA

So, I have an interest in blacksmiths. I will admit that Perrin Aybara is top of my list of fictional characters that I’m in love with. I’m sure 75% of it, is that blacksmiths are like the green beret of making things, and I enjoy watching a project come together. Probably the rest of it is the fact that they, by way of their profession, naturally seem to be in control of themselves and the world around them. I guess in an era of impulse control issues, someone who is the antithesis of that type of behavior is attractive to me.

So at the library today I didn’t have anything specific I was looking for, so I wandered and did random searches on the computer. (Am I the only one who misses a proper card catalog, by the way? It seemed so much more straight forward than trying to find a computer and navigating the website, especially since my library is part of a network and any books you find may or may not be at that branch. Anyway.) One of the searches I did was for “blacksmith” under fiction.

Collars and midriff shirts: totally practical smithing wear.

Happily, one of the books on the first page was “Black Blade Blues” by J.A. Pitts. The description reads thusly:

“Sarah Beauhall is a young woman who has loved fire and the lure of the forge all her life. She is now living her dream as a blacksmith, by day creating works that are practical and fanciful, and working nights as a props manager for low-budget movies to pay the bills.

When Sarah’s favorite sword is broken on the set of a new movie, it sends the director into fits, and Sarah agrees to repair the blade to avoid reshooting scenes. One of the extras – who claims to be an actual dwarf – shows up at her forge and offers to help Sarah with her destiny.

That’s when things start to get weird. Could the sword really be magic, as he claims? Are dragons really living among us as shape-shifters, and are evil power brokers controlling our world? And why would he think that Sarah would be willing to kill a Portland investment banker just because he says that the guy is one of those supposed creatures?

She refused to believe…and then one of the dragons makes its move. Suddenly, what was unthinkable becomes all too real.

And Sarah will have to decide if she can reject what is safe and become the heroine that is needed to save her world.”

The short blurb that was on the library’s computer also mentioned that Sarah is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. I was intrigued.

As it was pouring out, I waited in the car and started the book before going in to my next errand. (Amusingly, I was waiting for it to stop raining so I could go buy a gallon of water. Lol) I’m now seven chapters in.

Not only has the SCA been mentioned a couple of times, but also Renn Faires, conventions, and the like. So we’ll have to play the “Was this written by a SCAdian?” game while I read the book. Obviously this is an author who has heard of these things, and has a passing knowledge (enough so far to know that SCAdians don’t use real swords, anyway), but we will have to see!

Aside from looking for the things that had initially captured my interest, I have to say that I can tell this is going to be a quick read. Not that it’s short. Just shy of four hundred pages, it’s a decently sized book, but the writing style is easy to follow, and so I’ll probably fly through it. The characters so far have been introduced smoothly and reasonably, and I don’t really have any questions about the plot. Except, perhaps, which group Black Briar is associated with, since Sarah seems to be involved in everything nerdy in order to sell her swords.

I’m loving that the main character is a female blacksmith. That just tickles me. Especially since it was written by a male author. I am kind of missing the apron in the cover art, but I guess I can forgive that. What’s the leather collar for though? I’m pretty sure that won’t protect her from anything a forge might throw at her.

Perhaps it will become apparent as I continue reading.

Want to read it? Click here to go through the author’s page: http://www.japitts.net/buy-the-books/ I’m not sure if he gets some kind of kickback if you buy it through their website, but it couldn’t hurt!

I don’t know you, Paulette the cashier, but the threads of our lives have briefly touched.

As a side note, I found this receipt in the book after I got it home. I’m always interested in what people use for bookmarks, and what those things might say about them. Looks like this person was travelling while reading, and bought a newspaper and a bottle of water at LAX back in July. Neat!

 

~Rosie

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This fabric, a deep red silk, is going to become a lovely formal 13th century Mongolian noblewoman’s robe. (del, as they’re called natively)

I’m basing my choice off this image and (many) others like it:

 

Red seems to be the most common color for the formal overrobes the women wore, and as you can see above, they were big on embroidery, but not always. I have not yet decided if I will embroider mine or not. I think that will depend on how the winter goes, project-wise.

 I’m basing the cutting on a couple of different pieces.

©Gold, Silk, White and Blue Porcelain; p58-59

 and this diagram for cutting a Han Chinese Banbi: http://torguqin.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/shangyigencutting.png

I’m using the linked image as a sort of pattern. Obviously, the actual Mongolian piece has cuffs attached, which I will be adding. I was largely looking for direction in shaping the sleeves.  the rest of the del (the body) I’ve done before, and is pretty much the same no matter who was wearing it, so it should be pretty straight forward.

When I am finished, there will also be a pair of slippers and that fantastic hat with the feather sticking up out of the top!

 

~Rosie

At the new year, Rose and I decided my whole clan needed fantastic garb to go along with the Japanese persona I have chosen for the SCA.  Rose chose this pattern for us to follow for a start, and it was on! Life being what it is (hectic and crazy), the clothing wouldn’t be finished in time for the closest event, so I took a deep breath, promised myself the sewing machine wouldn’t eat me, and offered to help. She had already done the hard part, I assured myself, in making the hakama (pants) for my son.

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Aren’t they adorable???

We cut out the pieces for his two kosode (like a kimono, only from the Heian Period) , and I was totally psyched! All rectangles! How hard could it be? Piece of cake! She helped me pin the first one together to show me how it was done and I thought, ‘Omg! What was I worried about? Sooo easy!’

And then….she left.

This would be the very first time I attempted to sew anything with my aunt’s very old and crotchety Kenmore, without her watching me, steering me clear of committing any grievous sins against the poor, little used machine. To say I was terrified would be an understatement.

The next morning, I bravely pulled up my big girl panties and made a deal with myself that I would do nothing, -NOTHING- else until the job was finished! I got out my camera, to document the feat of the century, put on my booty shakin’ music (which happens to be a lot of glee songs and 90s music, TYVM) and sat down to work…

…and the needle broke.

This was immediately followed by a lot of cursing and yelling and shaking my fist at the Powers that Be.

20 minutes and 4 sewing needles later, I decided the Powers that Be either hated my guts, or were laughing at me. A lot.

The NEXT morning, after my husband had knight in shining armored over to Walmart and brought me replacement needles (in two different sizes ‘just in case’) I once again sat down, determined to have at last -someone- dressed in new garb by the end of the day. With the Glee cast egging me on (Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ , hahaha) I started up the sewing machine again.

…and then the thread on the bobbin barfed all over the yellow kosode.

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But was I discouraged? Hells no! I am a mother of 4, dammit! I’ve faced tougher problems before my morning caffeine! And hey! At least the needle wasn’t broken!

Thus my seam ripper,became my new, non human, best friend. I used said seam ripper no less than 10 times, before, finally, I called my mommy and asked what I was doing wrong.

Oh yes, I went there. I am 32 years old, and the moment all my options are exhausted, I call my mommy. It’s a good thing I did, too, because the mistake I was making was so newbish, I would have been embarrassed to reveal it…if, you know, that stuff was embarrassing to me.

Folks, fellow newbie sewers…don’t forget to feed your bobbin thread up through the floor of the machine with the needle before you begin!  If you do? Say…10 times or so? It won’t make a pretty sewn line. It will make thread barf.

Lots of thread barf.

After the mistake was fixed, the kosode came together pretty quickly.

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I had a moment of panic when I got to the collar (or eri) because I couldn’t quite figure out how to attach it when it wasn’t as long as the kosode. I couldn’t remember – was it supposed to hang out? was I supposed to sew it down? Maybe I had done it completely wrong?

Finally, after reading and rereading the directions, I pinned it from the center of the back and just um..tucked in the ends. yeah…I choked and did a whatever move. It came out pretty nice, except for the jacked up seam that was totally a user error and had nothing to do with the Rosemary’s Baby of Sewing Machines or the awesome instructions.

The second kosode came together so quickly, even -I- was surprised!

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Useful tip? Don’t rely on the foot of your sewing machine to keep your seams pretty. and try to pay attention to your seam allowance! That’s why there is one, for pretty seams! Mine aren’t so pretty, but hey, it was for a 6 year old. He just thought he was a Jedi, anyway.

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Since the epic sewing machine battle, I have retired it to the confines of it’s sewing table unwilling or unable to get up the nerve to press my luck and make another set of garb. I had a moment in the spring where I really thought I would take it out and make my niece a dress…and then I had a margarita and let the feeling pass quietly into the night. Crafting ADHD being what it is, I know I must conquer the sewing machine…but I’m hoping the terror of using it will fade from my memory first…kind of like childbirth.

Is there a crafting item that you are unwilling to use? Or maybe one that just resists all attempts at being conquered?

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Sometimes I psych myself out.

I have been writing this blogpost, tentatively entitled “the First, the Kickoff, the Most Rockin’ Thing I’ve Ever Written” for three weeks now, all in my head. I have alternately been hilarious, introspective, mushy, intelligent, and unable to form two coherent sentences in a row. And finally, while in the shower (where I do my best thinking) it came to me, like the voice of God, echoing inbetween my ears: Just Be Me!

Well, gee. Why didn’t I think of that?

So. This is me. Ayshia. I am a mom and a wife and a nerd and a pretty awesome friend. I occasionally cuss like a sailor and drink like a pirate.I sometimes like to stalk through my house pretending to be a ninja whilst humming my very own theme music. I like exclamation points, and feel that there is no such thing as ‘too many’. I like to play video games and make costumes and read -everything-. I love the Steampunk genre,the SCA, and learning new crafts. I am more than a little afraid of my sewing machine, mostly because it’s older than me. When I’m not crafting or writing, I admit to an addiction to Facebook and Pinterest as well as soaking up Vitamin D poolside during the 3 months of warmth my state claims to have. I met my partner in crafts, Rose, on a text based online game honoring Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series nearly 10 years ago. She has since become one of my very closest friends and my go-to gal for all things. Hopefully her voice will join mine on this blog, and you will learn just how awesome she is!

Threads of the Pattern began as a great big “What If” for us about 2 years ago, while planning her wedding. What if we could go into business together? What if we could live out the remainder of our days (May they be plentiful!) doing what we love to do? Which, of course, is spending time together, wallowing in what is fondly considered to be “Crafting ADHD” and creating exciting and gorgous crafts for ourselves and others to enjoy? In time, Threads of the Pattern will hopefully become everything we envision and more. This blog is the first step into Greatness. I plan to take you all on a journey into the behind the scenes of crafting. I can’t guarantee that sometimes I won’t wander over into other topics, as I have an opinion on just about everything, but mostly my hope for this blog will be all things crafty – for the novices, from the novice. Not everything I write about will be for sale, but it will all be interesting and educational! I hope you will enjoy Threads of the Pattern as much as I enjoy writing for it!

 

 

 



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